In a rather unusual vein, Governor Satya Pal Malik opened up his mind to the public through the medium of an interview telecast by a Delhi TV Channel. The interview is unique in some respects. It revealed things which may have far and wide resonance.
Governor raised serious questions on the working of PSC, saying a youth was selected even without appearing in the examination. Malik exposed `scams' committed during previous PDP/BJP Government. He referred to the employment in JK Bank and said complete selection list of 582 candidates was set aside to appoint political workers in their place. The public employees' health insurance scheme was also referred to prove how deep the rot of corruption has gone in the state polity.
He admitted that some of his Advisers and bureaucrats misled him to sign the Government Employees Group Insurance Policy with Reliance General Insurance. He revealed that complaints reached him to suggest that whole thing was done in fishy manner and no tenders were invited or placed on the State governments web site. So, he scrapped the scheme.
Governor has not divulged the details of corruption or names of the persons involved, but gave enough indications to feel in which direction the needle of suspicion is pointing. It is no secret that levels of corruption in J&K are very high, reaching the top administrators and the politicians. While as these allegations of malfeasance, coming as they do from the constitutional head of the State, may be taken on face value but to nab the culprit we will have to wait the result of the probe ordered by the Governor. Knowing how these kind of probes get buried under the heavy weight of politics and the politicians, Governor Malik should make the probe time bound and supervise it personally. In the meantime the persons allegedly involved should be asked to sidestep till probe is complete.
Governor has castigated Hurriyat for advocating cause of Pakistan which, in his view, has disentitled them from being considered a `stake holder' in the peace process. That Pakistan has a role in resolution of the problem – or creating it – is admitted by Malik himself. He told the interviewer that recent bout of violence is the creation of Pakistan, as that country felt peeved on the peaceful conduct of the ULB elections. If Governor believes it so, it becomes all the more to necessary bring Pakistan on the board. It doesn't make any political sense to negate Hurriyat's role just because they are asking for Pakistan's presence on the talks table.
The PDP and NC derive strength from the people. These parties, therefore, have a duty to make life worth living for them. If Governor feels that Pakistan is a 'mischief monger ' in the state, it becomes a duty of the political parties in Kashmir to ensure, at least, the county's mischief potential is neutralized. So one can't find a fault with them in demanding Pakistan's help to relieve Kashmiris of the distress. How can one, in a democratic set up, think of foreclosing a Political party's right to raise issues that touch lives of thousands of people.
There is no wisdom in running down Hurriyat or the mainstream political parties. They may have lost the clout – a bit, but their love among sections of Kashmir society has not completely evaporated. People have still faith in them, to see semblance of peace returning to the tormented Valley. It will be a travesty if genuine politics and political parties are weakened and demoralized. Institutional integrity and good image must be ensured.
Governor Malik has blamed everybody except the successive governments in Delhi. One day a PM opens Sky to the people in the state to see their issues resolved, other day other PM brings in Insaniyat, Jamhooroyat and Kashmiriyat kaa dairah to resove the issue, within. However, the Sky for us continues to be dark and gloomy, as the dairah has gone Tang (Circle squeezed ). Then we hear of macular policy . All comes to the naught. GoI will have to explain such prevarications and account for the flip flop policy adopted vis a vis J&K.
It is too simplistic to say that Kashmir is unemployment problem and that youth in Kashmir fight for jobs and games. They indeed have importance in the life of young and qualified. Only, if His Excellency cares to see the C V of those young men in the Valley who have lately joined the ranks of armed militancy a clear picture will be in front of him which may force him to take steps to solve the ' real 'problem.
Governor Satya Pal Malik has spoken – probably too much. Now let his promised action do the talking.
(The author is Former Principal District and Sessions Judge)